Saxophone Altissimo Systems and Your Hidden Second Octave Key

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Practice Tips, Sax

squawk

Learning to play in the altissimo (extreme upper) range of the saxophone requires patience, mostly on the part of the player, but also for whatever unlucky souls are forced to listen to your squawking. Progressing from squeaks to music is a process, but there are basic principles that should be isolated if you want to learn to control this demanding range of the …read more

50 Living Sax Players You Need to Check Out. Right Now.

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Inspiration, Sax

markturner

 

Preface:  The following list represents a group of today’s amazing jazz saxophonists. This is by no means the gold standard, it’s entirely my opinion, and the exact rank order should be taken with an extra-large grain of chunky sea salt; it’s just a guide. There may be 50 other guys who I’ve …read more

Is Classical Necessary? A Cost-Benefit of “Legit” Study for Jazz Saxophonists

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Sax

mc-hammer-too-legit-too-quit-1308331509-1

Let’s get one thing out of the way: you need to learn to play your instrument before you can start learning to play jazz. Trying to improvise over an Eb-7 chord when you are still trying to remember whether it’s a D-flat or D-natural is challenging, but it’s impossible if you are at all unsure of the fingering for a high Eb! There are many foundational elements that every musician must master regardless of their genre …read more

5 Steps to Finding Your Sound Through Imitation

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Improvisation, Inspiration, Practice Tips, Sax

copy_cat

When you hear John Coltrane, you immediately know it’s Trane. It’s not the notes he’s playing or his dazzling technique that makes him sound uniquely like himself. It’s his sound. Every jazz musician, at some point, ventures into the abyss in search of their own, unique sound. Your sound is what makes you, well, you. But where do you start?

Let’s begin by …read more

Tonguing for Jazz Saxophone

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Practice Tips, Sax

dog-tongue

Last weekend I met up with a former student, who is now a good friend and has since shifted his focus away from saxophone toward his studies in biology at the University of Chicago. But despite spending most of his time on science that I can’t even begin to comprehend, he still wants to keep improving as a musician. …read more

Patterns: Part 2 – Endless Possibilities

Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in Improvisation, Practice Tips, Sax

Maybe I’m just a math geek, but I love exploring patterns on my horn. A plethora of jazz literature is available on scalar/pattern studies (Jerry Coker, Oliver Nelson, David Baker, Slonimsky, etc.), each offering a veritable buffet of patterns for you to get under your fingers and have in your back pocket. You COULD just open one of these books, flip to any page, read the lick, and transpose into all 12 keys, and repeat. But for …read more

Patterns: Part 1 – Why Practice Patterns?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014 in Improvisation, Practice Tips, Sax

Let’s start by eliminating what patterns are NOT:

Most patterns are NOT solo material. Plug in your David Baker diminished pattern lick over the first altered dominant chord you can find at your next gig, and your solo will be about as tasty as soggy, cold French fries. Yes, they are still French fries, and technically they qualify as food, but would you ever walk into B.K. and ask …read more